What is a Brexit scam?
The UK's departure from the EU will create uncertainty for some people and scammers prey on this uncertainty. We've already hear from people who have been targeted by some of the following scams:
1 Ehic (European Health Insurance Card) scams
The European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) applies to EEA countries and Switzerland. The Ehic gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.
There are already many unofficial websites charging people for Ehic cards which UK citizens are currently entitled to get for free as an EEA member.
Depending on how the UK exits the EU, the Ehic card could no longer apply to UK travellers holidaying in these countries.
Scammers could use the confusion around this to lure UK travellers into thinking they can still get an Ehic if they pay a fee for it.
If you’re looking to get an Ehic card before you travel this year, visit the official government website or the official NHS website to check if you can still get one and, if you can, to make sure you get one for free.
2 HMRC Brexit scams
Fraudsters are targeting businesses with fake websites posing as HM Revenue & Customs. The scam is aimed at companies which trade with the EU and have been told by the Government they need to register for a 'UK trader number'.
We’ve also seen fraudsters trying to scam consumers using the HMRC name, so be careful if you get an email, text or phone call from someone saying they’re from HMRC.
HMRC will never ask you for your payment or personal details by email, text or over the phone, so alarm bells should ring if you are asked for any details in this way.
3 Bogus Brexit investments
Scammers often use big global events and current affairs as a way to con investors into parting with money.
A scammer might call or email unsuspecting victims suggesting that making a new investment or changing an existing one will help to 'capitalise on' Brexit or 'reduce damage' as a result of it.
One example we've seen of this is are claims for a 'Brexit severance cheque'.
Be cautious if you receive calls or emails with a deal that sounds too good to be true, as it's probably a scam.
Remember that no one, including genuine investment firms, truly know the impact Brexit will have.
Don’t respond to cold callers and always look into a scheme in detail before handing over any money.
Never give your personal bank details in phone calls or emails that appear to be from your lender.
Contact your lender the next day on an official number via its website.
4 Financial services scams
The government will require financial services companies to proactively contact anyone likely to be affected by Brexit, whether a deal is reached or not.
This is because most financial services regulation in the UK is drawn from EU directives - so if the UK loses access to this system, it could impact on banks' access to the European payments infrastructure.
In practical terms this means it could take longer to transfer money to Europe, or to pay for a purchase in euros. If for example, you earn money from an EU-based company, you might experience increased issues when being paid.
Where you are based, where your firm is based, the regulatory authorisations they operate and the services that they access will all impact how you'll be contacted as a customer of a financial services firm.
Any disruption during this time could present a perfect opportunity for scammers, who may contact people pretending to be from their bank, insurer or other financial services provider.
If contact via phone, email or text comes out of the blue, you're asked to provide personal details or you're pressured to respond quickly, proceed with caution.
Don't respond to the message or click on any links if you suspect it could be a scam.
Contact your financial service provider using the official contact information on its website, and ask your adviser to verify that the message you received is genuine.